Daryll 'Diddy' Young is a very nice man indeed. And he had a Triumph Daytona 955i to review for a year. He has since changed his name to Sean Coombs
Being able to browse through all the latest manufacturers' brochures with a view to choosing a new bike to use for the rest of the year is an alien concept to me. Even as a motorcycle dealer for the best part of 17 years I was never 'given' anything to ride on a regular basis - particularly from any of the importers.
Because of my involvement with Triumph since way back, I guess I was always going to have a soft spot for one of the latest British bikes. Top of the wish list was the 955 Speed Triple. I tested one last year and was bowled over by it. That was until our Road Test Editor, Niall Mackenzie, came back from the 955i Daytona launch in Portugal with tales of rear-wheel steering - yeah, maybe for you Niall - but at least if it's good enough for him it surely won't disappoint me. Decision made.
I collected a shiny new silver Daytona 955i a week or so later and made my way down to London from Northampton, a journey it'll have to get used to doing at least three times a week. It wasn't long before I felt really satisfied with the bike, like yeah, I've made the right choice. The riding position suits me, with not too much weight on the wrists. The gearbox is excellent, even for a brand new bike, but it's the sound it makes that really gives it its character - there's something about the noise of a triple. The handling is incredibly sharp and even running it in, there's heaps of torque from low-down. So, here's my new Triumph for this year. Let's see how we get on.
It's been a knackering month for me and the Triumph. We've covered over 1,500 miles and 99% have been up and down the motorway, or through the middle of London. Still, despite the boredom this has at least given me a chance see how the bike cuts it as a commuter. I'm impressed with tank range - 175 miles at 100mph before the fuel light comes on. Not bad, especially as you can comfortably sit astride it for a full tank without the need for break.
During one of my few mad moments down the local twisties I did have a monumental tank slapper though. Peeking at the suspension settings later I found they were full track settings courtesy of Niall Mac. Deciding our great British roads aren't quite as well-surfaced as the average GP circuit I reverted back to the original factory road set up. Since then it's been splendid.
Being completely useless I've done absolutely bugger all to the Trumpet this month apart from ride it. Which is just how it should be. No dramas, no hassles, just another 1500 miles clocked up.
It's a cool bike to be seen on, although when it's parked up it inevitably attracts the old boys who always come out with "I used to have one of them when I were a lad..." you know immediately you're in for a long conversation about old Bonnies. Still, one guy collared me at a service station while on the way back from Brands who owned a 2000 spec 955i - it was the first time I'd looked at both models side-by-side - and we both agreed the new model was better, even if it looks slightly Japanese!
One annoying thing is that I have noticed some corrosion around the engine block and on some of the fasteners, so I'll go and give it a clean and report back next month.
I've had to sit back for most of this year and watch everyone else in the office unpack umpteen boxes of shiny new bits for their long-termers, well Christmas finally arrived for the Trumpet and me. Firstly the 955i received a bit of a 'seeing to' by Sonic, who 'borrowed' it for a scene in the new TWO video, Short Shifts, and despite numerous promises my poor bike was returned with a serious bought of flu.
The engine management light was on and the entire system was in 'get you home mode'. Which basically meant it was time to see Dr Paul Smith at TW Motorcycles (01604) 622411 for some surgery.
The problem was traced to a broken temperature sensor connector, which obviously didn't just break by itself but everyone involved has pleaded ignorance. Either way with the aid of a hand-held diagnostic computer Paul soon put it right, and did the 6,000 mile service. At the same time I fitted new tyres. I plumped for the latest Metzeler Sportec M1's, available from CPK at £296.10 per set (01788) 540606, after talking to Cobby who recently tested them in France. And although I've not track tested them I'm really pleased with the way they feel on the road. Mind you they're going to have to go a long way to beat the Bridgestone 010's I took off - Over 7,000 miles out of one set of tyres which were thrashed by Niall Mac around Estoril, commuted on up and down the motorway all summer with a couple of trackdays by myself thrown in for good measure.
Aside from essential service work I've also fitted some genuine goodies, compliments of Triumph (01455) 251700. First out of the box was a 'double-bubble' Aero screen (£89.99) that was fitted in seconds and has made the whole motorway 'thing' a far quieter and more pleasurable experience. Next out was a pair of carbon-look frame protectors (£49.99) - I don't exactly know what they're going to protect against, but they look cool and that's good enough for me. And lastly a pair of soft sport panniers (£169.99). I had been using a set of Givi throwovers, which although have been excellent, I'd managed to mark the rear panels where they had been rubbing against the bodywork. Triumph's solution is a pair of moulded panel protectors, which can be removed in seconds, but when in place will protect the paintwork from the deceivingly spacious panniers.
All in all it's been a good month for us both, and we're booked on a trackday later this month so I'll report back next issue as to how the new tyres are going.
Well, as the saying goes - all good things must come to an end, and as I loaded the Trumpet into the van to deliver it back to Hinckley I remembered back to the sunny spring morning when I had collected it, and as Andrea was telling me when she wanted the bike back I was thinking my God, that's nearly a year away. How time flies.
Still, the 955 and me have had a good time of it. We covered nearly 10,000 miles commuting up and down motorways, thrashing around country lanes and even took in a couple of track days. One of the best things about riding the 955 Daytona on the road is that because of its relative 'lack of power', compared to other 1,000cc sports bikes, you can ride it really aggressively without feeling intimidated or defeated by its sheer performance as can be the case after a spin on a GSX-R1000.
All in all it's been a year of completely trouble free biking, just one service, one set of tyres and not a spill or even a puncture to moan about, however I feel it may have needed a new battery before we finally got round to spring again as it was beginning to turn over very slowly when cold - mind you it was left outside with no cover for the entire time I had it, so fair play!
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